What to do in Cortona in May (2019)

Events and my personal suggestions for May 2019 in Cortona, Italy

May is one of the most PERFECT months to visit Cortona, my town. The countryside is in full bloom and the weather is warm, not too hot and, hopefully, sunny. It’s the best month to enjoy piazza life, have lunch al fresco and sip a good aperitivo in the afternoon.

Here is my personal guide to the top events in Cortona (and surroundings, too!) for May 2019.

Primo Maggio in Cortona

The very first event in May is on May 1st or Labour Day. Traditionally there is a copper-ware and flower market in Piazza Signorelli and this year makes no exception! Copper-ware artifacts are very interesting and not always easy to find. And this year the market will also include fine traditional ceramics from local artisans. A good day to see the town so colorful and bustling with people – May 1st is a big public holiday in Italy and there will be lots of locals around!

Archiadado medieval celebrations

May is also the month when Archidado events officially start. On May 24th, at night, there is the “Colata dei Ceri” (wax offer), the medieval re-enactment of people offering wax and casting candles to offer to Saint Margaret on her Festivity the following day. On Saturday, May 25th, a historical parade will go from Piazza Della Repubblica all the way to Santa Margherita church, walking through the Via Crucis.

Saint Margaret day

In May there is also the spring version of the Santa Margherita festivity. The day always falls on a Sunday and depends on when is Easter Sunday, so it always varies. The festivity is not as popular as the February one, but if you visit the church on that day you can get an idea of what the traditional Santa Margherita Day is like. This festivity celebrates the canonization of St. Margaret, which happened on May 16th, 1728.

Exhibitions of art, photo & archaeology

To conclude, a great variety of exhibitions is available in Cortona this month. In Fortezza, there are two photo exhibitions, “The Etruscan Spirit”, portraits by Renee Van Bakel, and “Arancioni nel Mondo” by Francesco Arancioni.

MAEC Museum continues the exhibition dedicated to Marcello Venuti and the discovery of Ercolano – in collaboration with the Archaeological Museum of Naples. Together with these beautiful pieces from Roman times, at MAEC this month you can admire the temporary display of an amazing fresco by Pinturicchio, “Il bambin Gesù delle Mani”. Really a unique opportunity!

Other things to do in Cortona and its surroundings

It goes without saying, May offers the perfect weather to indulge in long walks and field trips – read here my advice on Free things to do in Cortona

Outside Cortona, I recommend a few events happening in May:

  • “Coloriamo i cieli” Castiglione del lago (Trasimeno Lake)

From May 3rd to the 5th, in the airfield just outside Castiglione del Lago, a large exhibition of colorful and giant kites. A fun occasion to enjoy the lake and play with kids, as well as for seeing “flying works of art” from all over Europe.


  • Maggiolata Lucignano

In Lucignano, a medieval village approximately 30 minutes from Cortona, the Maggiolata is a parade of beautiful flower floats. It will be on Sunday, May 19th, and June 2nd. Also, there will be a night parade on Tuesday, May 21st.


  • Festa Medievale Castiglion Fiorentino

Medieval Festival organized by Rione Cassero in Castiglion Fiorentino. It will be in the old Arms square of the Cassero (the town’s castle) from May 25th to 27th. The second weekend will be from June 1st to the 3rd. At sunset, the square comes to life and transports you back to the past. Every detail is in medieval style, street artists perform with fire, swords, or hawks, and there is a medieval market and wooden stalls serving street food and local wine.


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